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Know your universe.  Not just your list universe, but your market's universe.  Example: You want to mail 1MM Registered Nurses (RN'S).  If you scan the list market you may find 20+ RN compiled files, each having around 3MM records.  Your marketing plan is to order names from 4, 5, or 6 different lists, thereby not putting all of your eggs in one basket.  Good job, right?  Not always.  If you researched the industry universe you would find that according to the Center for Nursing Advocay there were a total of 2.99MM RN's.  So logic would say that while there are 20 different lists on the market, each having around 3MM records, they all have included basically the same records.  It doesn't matter how many different sources are used...a defined universe is what it is.  The main difference will be in the quality and recency of the records, not whether it was compiled from the internet, directories, or any other source.
So what do we recommend?  Ask the right questions: 

  • When was the entire list last run through NCOA?
  • How often is the entire file recompiled?
  • Does it update all at once, or state by state?
  • How (source) and where (USA or overseas) is the list compiled?

Once you have those answers, you will be able to select the best lists...or list.

What do you do if you feel that new sources are required?  Keep in mind that by reducing the number of lists ordered, this will help to reduce the duplication rate and allow for better negotiations on pricing based on the higher order quantities per list.  A good way to prove this is by acquiring state counts from different compilers and showing that the numbers per state are vitrually the same, concluding that they are basically the same records.  If the numbers do not match, then you may have found an anomaly within the selected industry and truly found a source for additional records.
Most compilers are not going to help you ask, or answer these questions, since in essence it means that fewer names may be ordered.  So why do we bring up questions that otherwise may not be asked?  Quite honestly, we would rather not rent names than rent unneeded names.  We are in the business to offer solutions- necessary and valuable solutions- not to add to the glut of compiled names on the market.  We consider ourselves a broker for brokers, not "managers" or "compilers."  Although we do represent list owners, they come to us understanding and backing our business philosophy. 

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